I wanted to take a moment to reflect on something that’s become a significant part of my life this fall: for the past few months, I’ve been a part of the 2018/2019 iteration of the Emerging Arts Critics programme, which is co-administered by the National Ballet of Canada, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Canadian Opera Company. The programme brings together eight emerging writers, sends us to the season’s performances of dance, opera, and classical music from each participating company, and throws us into writing reviews of one performance from each genre.
If you’ve talked with me over the past few months, you’ve probably heard that I’m having a blast with the programme. Aside from getting the chance to work with professional reviewers/mentors in various settings (workshops, one-on-one editing, etc.), I’ve also realized the incredible value of getting to talk about art with seven engaged and intelligent peers as that art is happening. Of course, the performances themselves have been fantastic, too.
Partly, I thought to write about the programme now because my contribution to its dance aspect, a review of the National Ballet of Canada’s The Dream and Being and Nothingness, was just published on The Dance Current‘s website last week (along with reviews by several of my EAC peers, which you can find here). In addition, my review of the Canadian Opera Company’s debut of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian is set to appear in the upcoming print issue of Opera Canada, which I’ve been told will be released later this month.
Working on these pieces has taught me a great deal–not only about how to review two unique and (to me) unfamiliar performance genres (for which I’m incredibly thankful to the editors of both publications), but also about how to write about and across the arts in general. To me, critical writing is simply the best way to think, feel, and learn through a work of art, and discovering that this is the case as much with dance and opera as it is with other forms has been inspirational. With these experiences in my back pocket (along with my anticipation of reviewing the Toronto Symphony Orchestra this coming spring), I’m even more confident about the future contributions I can make to the arts through critical writing.
As always, happy reading–but also viewing, listening, and thinking!